Preventing hypothermia requires conserving more heat than the patient loses through the skin. Treating hypothermia uses the exact same techniques as those used to prevent hypothermia, but results in heat transferring into the body rather than stopping the loss of heat.
A Word From Verywell
In most cases, preventing or treating hypothermia can be done simply as long as a patient is identified as being in a cold environment and then the patient is either removed from the cold environment (goes inside on a chilly night) or precautions are taken to trap heat in the body (blankets, gloves, jackets, and a cup of hot cocoa).
Mild hypothermia is not really a big deal unless it goes unrecognized, but it’s extremely important not to underestimate moderate or severe hypothermia. Shivering is good. It means that hypothermia is still in the mild stage and can be easily reversed. Once shivering stops, you must take the situation seriously and take steps to conserve whatever heat the patient has left and then begin the process of rewarming.
Cold and dry is better than cold and wet. If a patient is soaked, they are losing heat 25 times faster than if they are dry. Peel off the wet clothes. It might seem counter-intuitive to remove clothing from a severely cold patient, but getting them out of wet clothes and wrapped in something dry could save a patient’s life.